While I rarely use credit cards still the notices arrive in my mailbox. Fees added or increased. Percentage rates increased. To outrageous amounts. All because Obama forced their hands with new regulations.
Unemployment is not getting better but worsening. Tom is still on reduced hours, contract broken, case to be decided soon.
Grocery prices continue to creep creep creep upwards. I find my budgeted money bringing home fewer bags even though I am buying cheaper items, less high-end delights, more ingredients to make things myself.
Yesterday I read to my daughters about life in the former Soviet Union. From Goldie Hawn's, A Lotus Grows in the Mud I read aloud her experience visiting Russia in 1975 during the Cold War. Goldie witnessed a rare insight into every day life which included being shushed and told to gesture or whisper because of cars and homes being bugged, the KGB following her every move via black cars and tattletale women perched outside her ugly gray concrete hotel. She was introduced to three families living under one tiny apartment roof, each member having his 'own corner' to call his own. Little color. Little joy. No eye contact.
It's her story about the bread lines that astounded my girls and me.
We walk through the chill air along a grand Russian boulevard lined with baroque buildings and dart into the doorway of one that looks like a royal palace. It is now a bread hall.This account lingers in my mind. Is this how it begins? A good idea gone bad? Desperate people putting their faith in a disastrous leader? In greedy, ambitious politicians?
I am amazed by all the customers inside, who have formed at least three different lines. Dour-faced men and women in heavy hats with gray scarves wrapped around their faces are lining up to choose what they want to buy from a glass-fronted display case.
I stand in line. A woman in a drab utilitarian uniform puts my pastry choices in a bag and hands me a ticket. I watch as my bag is taken away by another staff member in a uniform and a funny hat.
Kristina leads me to a second line, where I hand someone my ticket and pay for my pastries. Then a man gives me another ticket and points me to a third line, where I now have to wait to collect my goods.
The bread hall is my first glimpse of everyday life in Russia. They had a good idea: that everyone be employed and treated the same. I already know from listening to my journalist friends that the reality is quite different. The results are in plain sight. The human spirit is being crushed, and apathy has set in.
"My God. This is insane!" I tell Kristina. "What a screwed-up system! This whole process has taken almost an hour. It would have taken five minutes back home."
She laughs out loud, hoists her son back up on her shoulders and off we go, down the narrow streets, continuing on our journey through life under Moscow's communist rule. (Emphasis mine)
Goldie's line, 'The human spirit is being crushed, and apathy has set in,' haunts me, covers my heart and mind like the gray clouds outside my window that hide the sun, the warmth, obliterating color, dampening my spirit.
Bread line mentality isn't seeping in. It's here. And we are apathetic. We are being pushed and forced and pressured and we are just taking it. But like a watch that is wound one twist too many, the spring of our society is going to snap and we will have no one but ourselves to blame.
We'd better wake up. Before it's too late.